SkyTeam’s Best Award Search Tool Returns via Air France
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – View the current offers here – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
Fret not, SkyTeam flyers: After a multi-month hiatus, Air France’s Flying Blue award calendar search tool is back online. As one of the best options for finding award space across the SkyTeam network — which encompasses airlines like Delta, KLM, Air France and Korean — the tool enables those searching for availability on Air France and its partners to do so with (relative) ease.
One of the perks of using Flying Blue’s flexible calendar is its ability to suss out unusual routings when it comes to pairing connections to assemble a complete itinerary. Delta’s award search engine has improved dramatically over the past couple of years, but in many cases it will still only show single-leg availability with partners. That leaves you, the weary traveler, responsible for trying a variety of connection options and then manually piecing together availability. Ick.
If you don’t have one already, you’ll need to sign up for a free Flying Blue membership to use the calendar. From there, head to airfrance.com (or airfrance.us), tap the “Use Your Miles” tab at the top, and login. When entering your origin and destination, be sure to check the box entitled “You are looking for a flight around these dates.” That’ll trigger the full calendar, ensuring that award seat availability populates properly on the next page.
Be aware that the Flying Blue booking engine has been known in the past to sometimes show phantom availability, so you’ll want to confirm the space exists either by calling Flying Blue or another SkyTeam partner before moving any miles around. Also, note that Flying Blue shows additional low-level award space specifically on Air France and KLM flights that isn’t made available to partners. But once you confirm a flight that works, you can book using Flying Blue miles or with another SkyTeam partner through their own channels. And if you want to think it over, Flying Blue phone agents have the ability to put awards on hold for 48 hours, even with no miles in your account.
Speaking of which, if you don’t have any Flying Blue miles, you’re in luck — the program is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards (instant transfer), Citi ThankYou Points (instant transfer), American Express Membership Rewards (instant transfer), Starwood Preferred Guest (4-day transfer). Here’s a sampling of credit cards you can use to earn points in these programs:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express for Membership Rewards
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for Ultimate Rewards
- Citi Premier Card for ThankYou Rewards
- Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express for Starpoints
As far as prices, Flying Blue no longer maintains an award chart, and based on experiments performed by TPG Senior Points and Miles Contributor Richard Kerr, there’s not much rhyme or reason as to how it prices flights nowadays. So you’ll definitely want to rely on the calendar primarily for tracking down space, and not necessarily for always getting the best mileage price, as another SkyTeam partner might be a better choice when it comes to actually booking.
Featured image by the author.